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JTA concerned about stress levels of teachers

Published:Tuesday | September 19, 2023 | 8:19 AM

Between May and August 2022, twelve teachers tragically lost their lives, and in the past two weeks alone, two more have passed away. This sombre reality has prompted the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) to voice deep concerns regarding the immense mental and physical burdens placed upon educators. The association's president has issued a heartfelt appeal to his fellow colleagues, urging them to actively seek effective methods for coping with the profound stresses associated with their profession.

‘Take care of physical, mental health’

JTA boss appeals to educators after principal’s sudden death

16 Sep 2023/Christopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer


JAMAICA TEACHERS’ Association (JTA) President Leighton Johnson is urging teachers and school administrators to pay close attention to their physical health and not to take any underlying medical conditions for granted.

This follows the recent passing of Tisha Patrick-Rowe, principal of the St Elizabeth-based Fullerswood Primary School.

Johnson made the appeal in an interview on Friday, while offering condolences to the family and colleagues of the late principal, who died on Wednesday.

Patrick-Rowe was said to be recuperating at home following an accident at Fullerswood Primary earlier this week.

“The JTA is deeply saddened by the death of a second administrator in a matter of three weeks. We want to assure the family members that we sympathise deeply with their loss, and, of course, the JTA stands ready to provide whatever support is needed to the school family of our colleague who has passed,” Johnson told The Gleaner.

“I also want to use this opportunity to make an appeal to all our colleagues, that it is very important for them to take care of their physical and mental health. We encourage them not to take any medical condition for granted, and they must get the necessary and proper checks to identify whatever underlying conditions there may be lurking,” Johnson added.

Donnette Witter, the principal of the St Andrew-based Jacks Hill Primary School, died suddenly on August 31, four days before the start of the school year.

Patrick-Rowe, an educator for approximately 24 years, was a graduate of the Bethlehem Moravian College and served as a classroom teacher at Fullerswood Primary before being appointed as its principal.

Johnson also called on educators to take time to away rest from the high-stress classroom environment and the case of principals, overseeing the administrative duties of their schools.

The JTA had previously voiced concern about the stress levels being faced by teachers and urged educators to prioritise self-care, following the deaths of several educators last year which were attributed to the stresses of the teaching profession compounded by underlying medical conditions. Twelve educators died between May 11 and August 28, 2022.

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